19 October 2018

Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s work in developing an innovative risk-based planning approach for natural hazards has received international recognition, winning the Commonwealth Association of Planners Outstanding Planning Achievement Award.

The Award was announced in Cape Town, South Africa this week and champions the very best example of planning practice in the Commonwealth across 180 countries.

The project, innovative risk-based planning and engagement for natural hazards, won for the way it worked through the change to the Bay of Plenty Regional Policy Statement to better manage natural hazard risk through land use planning. Its development incorporated evolving national guidance and innovative community engagement, and also addressed the needs of stakeholders. The award judges noted the relevance of the project in the context of climate change, hazards and other resilience challenges across the Commonwealth.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Chair Doug Leeder said he was incredibly proud of staff for the recognition they’ve received and it showed the ground-breaking ways of working that the Regional Council was known for.

“This international award recognises the work carried out to develop a leading edge approach to the management of natural hazard risk. It provides a regionally consistent framework for managing the region’s hazards,” Mr Leeder said.

“This includes both low-likelihood and high consequence hazards according to their risk. It’s put us at the front of the country’s risk approach to managing and avoiding and mitigating natural hazards.”

Mr Leeder said the work was achieved through the development of policy that took account of the natural hazard risks in our region, led by innovative community engagement.

“Staff across council were involved in the project and I commend them for the way they approached it and what we achieved here which has been held up as an example of best practice across the country and now internationally. It’s a credit to all involved.”

The Bay of Plenty project had earlier won the New Zealand Planning Institute’s 2017 Best Practice Award for District or Regional Plans, ahead of other high profile nominations including the Auckland Unitary Plan.